Skip to main content

Apple CarPlay: everything you need to know

How do you control Apple CarPlay?

The beauty of CarPlay it how it can be controlled by whatever interface your car has. Generally speaking, this means there are three options.

siri

1. Use Siri

Using Siri, you can talk to your vehicle and tell it what to do. That includes playing music from your favorite band or even requesting a specific playlist. You can also have your messages read out to you before you dictate a reply.

You can also yell ‘Hey, Siri’ at your phone to activate its virtual assistant. However, this might not work so well if your iPhone is stored away somewhere in the cabin, like the glovebox. Instead, you can press your car’s voice control button on the steering wheel.

touch

2. Use the touchscreen

Almost all CarPlay-compatible cars come with touchscreen displays cooked into the dashboard. Using this display, you can open and close apps using CarPlay’s simple home screen.

This is certainly the most straightforward method of using CarPlay, but interacting with a touch screen can take your attention off the road more than using physical controls, depending on the size and exact location of the display.

knobs

3. Use your knobs

Of course, your car has physical buttons, knobs and controls, and you're still able to use these alongside the touchscreen and Siri options.

Volume controls, track skip buttons and control knobs are all seamlessly integrated and work as expected - and so too do those on the steering wheel.

carplay maps

Use Apple Maps as an in-dash sat nav system

What about digital gauge clusters and head up displays?

Although none have just yet (as of October 2019), with iOS 13 car manufacturers are now able to put CarPlay on multiple screens at once if they so choose.

This means elements of the interface can be shown on the digital instrument cluster behind the car’s steering wheel, along with the main iPhone-style interface on the dashboard touchscreen. In an ideal world, this could mean navigation instructions appears on the instrument cluster, while music playback and a larger map view appear on the dashboard display.

What’s even more exciting is how CarPlay will look on vehicles with multiple dashboard displays. We’re keen to see how this will look on upcoming multi-screened cars like the Honda e and Porsche Taycan.